Evaluate ‘Frankenstein’ as a ‘Text in Time’
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was written 1818 which was a time of scientific exploration. Through depicting scientific breeching of moral boundaries through context, characterisation and intertextuality, Shelley highlight’s the dangers of progression with the absence of ethical emotion. Shelley’s novel is a question about science and it’s relationship to humanity and challenges us with the idea does man have the right or power and intellect to act as a creator of god. Shelley’s answers imply that science and progress are ethically neutral with the capacity to work for either good or evil. Shelley expresses the idea that it is our duty as humans to handle the power of science responsibly and humanely.
Shelley’s Frankenstein combines elements of two philosophical, artistic and cultural movements known as The Enlightenment and Romanticism. When evaluating Frankenstein as a ‘text in time’ it is vital to understand the novel’s conception of social justice that are firmly rooted in the Enlightenment, but also the Romantic critique of the Enlightenment belief that scientific knowledge could and would end all of society’s ills. The context of the novel, provides the two conflicting elements which have affirmed Frankenstein as a text in time. These same elements are often challenged within modern day literature and film proving that the battle between ethics and science will always be a controversial issue no matter what time in history.
Romanticism played on people’s insecurities about the scientific progress and exploration, many people feared the consequences of a mechanistic world view. In the 18th century, mechanical world views led to the emergence of scientific explorations of both the natural world and society, which was at the same time as the French Revolution. Shelley addresses the fear of science with the characterisation of Victor Frankenstein. Victor cuts himself off from nature and his fellow beings while...
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